The following is a sample letter to help travel industry managers deal with absentees. 

For more advice read our 10 tips on managing absence. For further explanation of the letter click the numbers at the end of each paragraph.

Dear [employee],

You have not reported for work since [date] and we have no idea why you are absent. You have not telephoned the office to notify us that you are unwell, nor have you prebooked any holiday leave.

If you are unwell, as you know our sickness policy requires that you telephone the office by 10am on the first day of your absence and daily thereafter until you have provided us with a doctor’s certificate certifying your absence. (1)

The company does not pay employees for unauthorised leave. If you are unwell, please contact me as soon as possible.

If I do not hear from you by [date] I will have no alternative but to view your absence as unauthorised leave, in respect of which the company may take disciplinary action against you and also withhold payment of your salary for all unauthorised absence. (2)

If you would like to discuss this matter please call me on [number]. (3)
Yours sincerely,


Download the sample letter as a word document (.doc)


1. If the absence has lasted for more than five working days the employee should also be asked to provide a doctor’s certificate. If the employee contacts you, ascertain the reason for absence and likely return date.

If they have been unwell, ensure they follow the necessary certification procedures and attend a return to work meeting.

If the employee has no genuine reason for absence, ask them to attend a return to work meeting then decide whether disciplinary proceedings are necessary.

If they are, serve the employee with a letter (compliant with statutory disciplinary procedures) inviting them to a disciplinary meeting to discuss their unauthorised absence.

2. If the employee does not contact you, consider whether disciplinary proceedings are warranted and, if so, ask the employee to attend a disciplinary hearing to discuss their unauthorised absence.

If the employee does not attend this meeting, reschedule a second meeting and state that if they do not attend, you will hold the meeting in their absence (and invite them to make written submissions which would be considered before you decide whether disciplinary action should be taken).

3. There may be other issues connected to absence such as bullying. Carry out an investigation to determine whether there are any underlying reasons before taking disciplinary action.

Always take advice before imposing any disciplinary sanction or dismissing an employee.